Former Iranian President Mohammad G. Khatami announced this week that he will once again run for his country's highest elected office when Iranians go to the polls in June.
Mr. Khatami was president of Iran from 1997-2005, during which time he was known as a moderate and reformer who expanded social, economic and political freedoms in Iran. He has criticized his rival, current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for turning Iran into a pariah state.
Mr. Ahmadinejad, or "Dina" as we like to call him, was feeling a bit on the defensive until a news story, released by Fox News Iran, revealed that the "G" of Mohammad G. Khatami's middle initial actually stands for 'George.'
Now it is Mr. Khatami who is on the defensive, as his campaign has been forced to deflect criticism that his middle name sounds an awful lot like Iran's sworn enemy, George W. Bush.
Already many Fox News Iran pundits are calling Mr. Khatami by his full name whenever they mention him, and are questioning his patriotism.
Here's a partial transcript of an interview yesterday between Fox News Iran and candidate Khatami:
Fox News Iran: "George? Isn't that a terrorist name?"
Mohammad Khatami: "No, it is the name of one of my ancestors."
FNI: "It sounds like a terrorist name."
MK: "It's not a-"
FNI: "Seriously, are you really Iranian?"
MK: "Yes of course. I was president for 8 years. And if the people of Iran elect me again-"
FNI: "But George is a Christian name. So you're not a Muslim?"
MK: "I am a servant of Allah, a cleric, a man of peace and-"
FNI: "Wait, wait. So you are a Christian."
MK: "I am a Muslim."
FNI: "But you just said you are a Christian."
MK: "No, you said-"
FNI: Your name is George. You grew up in Germany, a Christian country. Do you eat Schnitzel?"
MK: "No, well yes, I've eaten Schnitzel. But I only studied in Germany. I was born on Iranian soil."
FNI: "Oh really, then what colour is our flag?"
MK: "It's red and white and green."
FNI: "Aha! It's pistachio green. Not just any green. If you were a real Iranian you would have used the qualifier 'pistachio.'"
FNI: "How long have you been an ally of our enemy George, your namesake?"
MK: [Staring in disbelief]
FNI: "How long have you been following the teachings of Jesus Christ?"
MK: "But in the Holy Qur'an, it says..."
FNI: "Aha, so you are a Christian. Why don't you just go to Israel."
MK: "But Israel is a Jewish country."
FNI: "Oh, so you're Jewish now, are you?"
MK: "This is ridiculous."
FNI: "Are you saying that because you're some sort of terrorist Christian Jew terrorist who's called George who is a terrorist?"
MK: "I'm leaving."
FNI: "Well, there you have it. Mohammad George Khatami, left-wing radical candidate for president of Iran. Thanks for being on our show."